Earlier this week, I wrote about the Baby Layette, or clothes and linens that baby needs. Today I’m talking about major purchases — furniture and other “big” items. There are so many out there, but you really don’t need them all. Some, however, are definitely necessary!
So which ones do you really need?
A Car seat — This should almost go without saying. It is illegal to transport your baby in car without a car seat. If you want the most “bang for your buck,” think about purchasing a convertible car seat instead of an infant seat. There are models that fit babies rear-facing from 5 – 45 lbs., and forward-facing up to 100 lbs.! We have the Britax Marathon (admittedly one of the most expensive seats out there, one of the few purchases where I did go for the “best”), because we actually did keep our daughter rear-facing until almost age 3. It was handy not to need another car seat, and we won’t until she’s in a booster at age 6 or so. This is a serious investment, so choose carefully. And as always, read your manual and contact a safety expert to make sure it’s installed and used correctly!
A Crib — You need a place for your baby to sleep. And some will disagree with me because they’re co-sleeping (we did too) or want just a mattress on the floor, and those are fine too. A crib is standard “baby sleeping” though. These are okay to buy used, as long as you’re sure they meet current safety standards (no drop sides, slats no more than 2 3/8″ apart, no posts or decorations that could catch baby’s clothing).
A Way to Travel with Baby — I’d recommend a stroller, even if you don’t plan to use it too often. There will come a day your baby is too heavy, or too squirmy to wear any longer (my son refused to be worn around a year, when he could walk, because he was pretty sure he was a “big boy” and wanted to be with the other “big kids”). A stroller is a good compromise even if you don’t use it right away. Of course most do use their strollers quite a lot. Get one that reclines flat so your smaller baby is comfortable, and even an older baby can nap. It’s also nice to have a wrap or carrier for those early months when many moms do like to wear their babies.
A Safe Place to Set Baby Down — There are dozens of these out there. You can find bouncers, swings, Jumperoos, exersaucers, walkers, Bumbo-style seats, and more. You don’t need them all. Just pick one or two. We really liked bouncers because we could put the baby near us while we were working, and we could buy them used and cheap! A swing also worked out nicely for us because our babies would sleep in it. But, your baby may hate it. Unless you get a great deal (or receive them as a gift), don’t buy much of this stuff until your baby is born and you have a chance to try it out. These so-called “baby holders” are also nice if you need to run to the bathroom or switch the laundry and need a safe place for baby to be. Just make sure older siblings know not to touch!
A Place for Baby’s Clothes — A dresser would be most popular, but a couple shelves in a closet or a couple boxes would work well for now. You don’t need anything fancy. My daughter’s dresser (which we now really need to replace) was given to us for free. It had been purchased for me in the 80s from a garage sale! I’d say we got good use out of it. My son’s we got with a bedroom set, cheap, from an older family member who no longer wanted it. Go really cheap on these, especially for babies. Just make sure you bolt light models to the wall so they don’t fall over and hurt your baby.
A Changing “Place” — This is so debatable. Some say they don’t like or want changing tables. I love mine, because it helps me keep my cloth diapers organized. If you don’t like one, consider a “changing basket” where you keep a few diapers, wipes, cream, and a blanket or mat to change your baby. Maybe even have a couple baskets if you have different floors in your home. You need to have some way to organize all your changing supplies so you don’t have to search around every time you need to change a diaper!
This is basically it. There are tons of fancy baby gadgets and gear, but babies are simple creatures. We are the ones who like all that fancy stuff. If you love it — get it, maybe it will really come in handy for you! But don’t feel like you need it.
What’s on your must-have list?
Top image by Dan Harrelson